MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday expressed gratitude over his inclusion in President Rodrigo Duterte’s initial list of senatorial bets for the 2022 national elections.
This, after Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, vice president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) for the Visayas, revealed Tuesday that Duterte is already finalizing the senatorial lineup of the ruling party.
Roque, who is among the personalities included in the initial list, said he is grateful for the “trust” given by the PDP-Laban.
“Nagpapasalamat din po ako sa PDP-Laban, kay Governor Evardone, sa kumpiyansa na naibigay nila sa akin (I thank PDP-Laban and Governor Evardone for their confidence in me),” he said in a virtual press briefing.
Roque, however, said his priority for now is to serve the public as Duterte’s spokesperson to give them “actual and accurate” information, especially amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Tayo po ay bumalik bilang spokesperson sa panahon ng pandemya dahil naniniwala tayo na kinakailangan ng aktuwal at accurate na information ang taumbayan (I returned as a spokesperson amid the pandemic because we believe that the people need actual and accurate information),” he said.
Roque, nevertheless, said he would make a decision once the country achieves population protection.
“Siguro po, ‘pag nakamit na natin ‘yung tinatawag na population protection, ‘yun po ‘yung panahon para magdesisyon kung ano po ang magiging plano natin sa politika (Perhaps, I will make a decision with regard to my political plans once we achieve the so-called population protection),” he said.
Roque was appointed as Duterte’s spokesperson in October 2017, but decided to resign in 2018 to run for a seat in the House of Representatives under the Luntiang Pilipinas party-list. He later decided to run for senator but eventually withdrew his plan due to health reasons.
He returned as presidential spokesperson in April last year.
On July 1, Roque said he is still undecided on whether or not he will join the 2022 senatorial race.
On June 9, Roque revealed his plan to seek an “early” resignation for a possible open-heart surgery to make sure that he is “safe,” in case he runs for public office next year.
Evardone on Tuesday told CNN Philippines that Duterte, who chairs the PDP-Laban, already discussed his senatorial lineup with some party leaders.
The PDP-Laban’s potential senatorial ticket for the 2022 elections include Duterte’s Cabinet, former lawmakers, and celebrities.
The initial list includes Roque, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II, and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
Other public officials also listed in the slate are Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson Greco Belgica, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairperson Benhur Abalos Jr., Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda.
Former senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, broadcaster Raffy Tulfo, and actors Robin Padilla and Willie Revillame are also part of the possible lineup. (PNA)